Somewhere between the tragedy and overwrought hand wringing there is truth and insight about and into what happened in Ottawa on Wednesday morning.
I do not presume to be able to deliver much on either score but having spent most of the 1990s working on Parliament Hill and knowing a little about the mechanics of government and being a parent and husband who would chew off an arm to keep my family safe . . . I have some opinions. As do you, no doubt.
Ottawa needs no platitudes from me. It was a wonderful city Tuesday and still is today. It has staggeringly beautiful natural gifts and stunning neo-gothic architecture in the Parliamentary precincts. Dozens and dozens of kilometres of bike paths along rivers and the canal. Chris was born there and Pad started to grow up there. Our memories of Ottawa are deeply personal and all good. We still have many, many very good friends in Ottawa.
Contrary to what many will tell you, Ottawa didn’t lose its innocence yesterday and neither did Canada. Memories are short in politics but soldiers with machine guns in armoured vehicles patrolled Ottawa in October 1970. People died in a siege on Turkey’s embassy in 1985. There was a bus hijacking on Parliament Hill in 1989. No, folks. Ottawa is well familiar with how the bad guys roll.
And three weeks out from Nov 11, let’s not kid ourselves that Ottawa or Canada lost its innocence yesterday. We lost our innocence at Vimy Ridge and Normandy and Dieppe and dozens of other foreign battlefields. Canada pulled on its big boy pants a long time ago. Continue reading